One of the last hold outs will close down.
Automotive production in the United States has sputtered to a halt in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Detroit's Big Three - Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors - have all closed down their production facilities as has Honda, who will even continue to pay its employees during the closures. Nearly all US-based car plants have now closed down and that list will soon include BMW's factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
While other automakers were quick to shut down, BMW issued a statement last week saying "Decisions on whether to close specific plants and when are made individually, and dependent primarily on the regional operating environment. In the case of Plant Spartanburg, we continue to monitor the situation daily and are in close alignment with both state and local government officials."
The statement continued, "We recognize that we are in a dynamic situation and are prepared to adjust quickly based on the daily analysis of the current environment. In parallel, we have implemented numerous measures to protect the health and safety of our employees."
Just one week later, BMW's statement has changed: "The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a very dynamic situation. We've had to adjust our plans accordingly. Shelter-in-place orders in individual states have disrupted the supply chain sooner than anticipated. Consequently, BMW Plant Spartanburg will close for a two-week period beginning Sunday, March 29, through Sunday, April 12. We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation very closely and adjust our plans as circumstances dictate."
BMW is the largest exporter of cars (by volume) in the US thanks to the output of its Spartanburg facility. The plant is responsible for building the BMW X7 and other SUVs including the X3, X4, X5, X6, as well as the M and hybrid variants of those vehicles. Spartanburg was on track to produce its five millionth car later this year but the current situation may postpone that milestone.